1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Capel Lofft

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 1:378-79.



Barrister at Law, a zealous Cultivator of constitutional Knowledge, and a distinguished Writer in the Law department, as well as in defence of Liberty. His first production was a poem, entitled, The Praises of Poetry, which was published in duodecimo, in 1775, and attracted little attention. Three years after this he wrote Observations on Mrs. Macauley's History of England, a quarto pamphlet, written in a spirit of zeal for the honour of that lady. Since that time, Mr. Lofft has written in two volumes, duodecimo, published in 1779; An Argument on the Nature of Party and Faction, published in 1780; Eudosia, or a poem on the Universe, published in 1781; and The first and second Georgic, attempted in Blank Verse, published in duodecimo, in 1784. The last of these performances was executed upon Dr. Trapp's model, and we must own that it was a daring "attempt" upon Virgil, but that Mr. Lofft succeeded in his cruel purpose, and committed murder. In 1785, Mr. Lofft published an ingenious Essay on the Law of Libels, and, in 1789, three Letters on the Question of the Regency. Since that time he has written Observations on the first Part of Dr. Knowles' Testimonies from the Writers of the first four Centuries, an History of the Corporation and Test Acts, a Vindication of that History (in answer to some observations upon it, which had been published), Remarks on Burke's Letter concerning the French Revolution, an Essay on the Effect of a Dissolution of Parliament on an Impeachment by the House of Commons; Remarks on Burke's Letter to a Member of the National Assembly; and Lord Chief Baron Gilbert's Law of Evidence considerably enlarged, in four volumes, octavo; the copy of which, furnished by him, was abruptly discontinued in the middle of the last volume, and the work was concluded by another hand. We had almost forgotten to mention that Mr. Capel Lofft played off the artillery of his Philosophy upon the public with considerable glitter, in the daily prints, upon the appearance of the Comet, in the Summer of 1797.